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ACTS xv. 2. When therefore Paul and Barnabas, taking just offence at this, had no small dissension and disputation with them, it was generally determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
3. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed (that route by land being purposely taken) through Phoenicea, by Sidon and Tyre, and through Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles; and by those tidings now told in the full extent, they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
4. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things which God had done by his blessing on their labours.
5. But here again, on their errand being publickly known, there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying that it was needful to circumcise the Gentile converts and command them to keep the law of Moses.
6. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
7. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles (Cornelius, with his kinsmen and near friends, A. x.) by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
8. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving to them the Holy Ghost, even as he did
9. And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10. Now therefore, why would you try the forbear
ance of God, in putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
ACTs xv. 11. But we believe, that through the free grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they; and not otherwise.
12. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
The work had now proceeded much farther than it had done with Peter; Cornelius was a proselyte (A. x. 2.) when he was converted.
13. And after they had held their peace, James (surnamed the Less) answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14. Simeon (i. e. Simon Peter) hath declared how God at the first (i. e. beginning with Cornelius) did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his
15. And to this agree the words of the prophets ; as it is written, (Amos ix. 11, 12.)
16. After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17. That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom (as true worshippers) my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."
18. Known unto God are all his works (and evidently so, this calling of the Gentiles) from the beginning of the world.
19. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not
with burdensome rites them which from among the Gentiles are now turned unto God:
ACTS xv. 20. But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, i. e. from feasting on things offered in heathen sacrifice; from fornication, as being now under the restraint of a purer morality; and from things strangled, and from blood, that so the Jewish believers may without offence or scruple eat at the same table with them.
21. In those latter points conformity must be exacted; for Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
22. Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to choose men of their own company and send them (for additional authority) to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren :
23. And they wrote letters by them after this man
The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia :
— here be it remarked, that this apostolic decree was addressed, and would be delivered, in the first instance, to the Syrian and Cilician churches alone: but whereever Paul and Silas afterwards went either to confirm other churches, as at Derbe and Lystra, xvi. 1, 2., or to the work of new conversion, as in Phrygia and Galatia, v. 6., the provisions of the decree, having been once solemnly ratified, would naturally find a place in the course of their teaching, without any reference to the original dispute, or to the authority by which it was settled.
ACTS xv. 24. Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
25. It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26. Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
28. For it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us,
that is, the inspiration of the Almighty directed
to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29. That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from the moral impurity of fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye will do well. Fare ye well.
30. So, on the business being closed, when they were allowed to depart, they came (by Cæsarea probably and then by sea) to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle :
31. Which when the brethren there had read, they rejoiced for the consolation thus administered.
32. And Judas and Silas, being prophets also (gifted in sacred instruction) themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them in the faith.
33. And after they (the two messengers) had tarried there a space, they had leave given from the
brethren to go in peace to those who had sent them on that mission.
ACTs xv. 34. Notwithstanding, it pleased Silas, in the prospect of greater usefulness, to abide there still. 35. Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also similarly engaged.